K J 7 6
10 7 5 4
A 6 3 2
A 10 9 4 3
K J 10 5
K J 9 7 4 3
K 6 2
Q 9 8
8 5 2
A Q 8 2
A J 9 8
Some of my readers seem confused about the Bones Principle — confusion that I myself have perpetrated and that I hope to clear up with today’s hand. No one states the Principle more clearly than the author himself:
When defending versus Gee, if he is to play the hand, wait until he stops bidding; then, no matter your hand or the auction, double for penalties. It will be the winning action in about 90% of the cases.
It follows, as the author has noted elsewhere, that a pure Bones Principle double requires a hand on which one would never dream, otherwise, of doubling for penalties. A hand, in short, like today’s.
Gee, East, picks up one of the world’s worst eleven points. Any STCP™ would open the hand 2H. Gee gives himself full value for the stiff SQ, upgrades for the likelihood that he will declare, and opens 1H instead.
After a 1S response and a 2H rebid, West continues with an ill-advised 3C instead of passing, and storm clouds appear on the horizon. It’s not too late for Gee to bid 3H, which is off 1 on perfect defense (club lead and duck) but likely makes at the table. But Gee’s thinking, diamond stopper, club support, why not 3NT? The only thing his hand lacks is actual tricks.
3NT is passed around to Bones. Against an ordinary declarer he has no double. The auction normally indicates an East holding like xx AKQxxx Kxx Qx, on which 3NT probably makes, even on a spade lead, if West actually has his bid.
Bones doubles anyway, providing us with a canonical application of the Bones Principle. It is a nice question, on which, perhaps, the author might care to inform us, whether a Bones Principle double against 3NT also calls for leading dummy’s first-bid suit. Misu apparently thinks so; he leads the S2. Gee ducks, and Bones wins the SK and returns a diamond, ducked by Misu to the queen. Now the defense always comes to two spades, two hearts, three diamonds and a club: eight tricks. The hand has a final, remarkable point of interest. I would have thought it impossible, before today, to beat a freely-bid 3NT four tricks without even a single five-card suit.
If you’re still confused about the Bones Principle after all this, perhaps the specs can set you straight:
Spec #1 (before double): the bones principle may come into play
Spec #2: for the unenlightened among us, what is the bones principle?
Spec #1: it means to double G purely on the fact that he has voluntarily bid
Spec #2 (after double): wow! has it been patented yet? great double!
Spec #3: this bones principle sounds like an illegal bid to me
Spec #4: isn’t it alertable?
Spec #3: it’s not on general convention chart
Spec #4: brown sticker?